Again and again the data show that people of color in the U.S. are disproportionately, and systematically, stopped, frisked, arrested, and exposed to the use of force by police. Police departments and communities across the U.S. are struggling with these realities and with what has become a glaring divide in how Americans experience and relate to policing. This special collection includes research from nonprofits, foundations, and university based research centers, who have not only described and documented the issue but who also provide much-needed recommendations for addressing this chronic and tragic problem.

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To Protect and Serve? Unequal Treatment in the Billings Police Department

October 1, 2005

In recent years, the Billings Police Department and its leadership have been in the news with reports of accusations of police brutality and misconduct. A study conducted by Montana People's Action (mpa) reveals deeper problems within the police department that lead to distrust and fear among residents of certain parts of the city. The study has found that in the Southside neighborhood, the Police Department is known for racial profiling and discrimination, gender discrimination, mistreatment of domestic violence victims, and demeaning treatment of low-income residents. Surveys comparing the sentiments of residents of the Heights and residents of the Southside uncover two sides of the Billings Police Department – one side that serves and protects the wealthier white residents of the city, another that ignores or abuses their poorer neighbors and people of color.

Racial Bias & Profiling